Wadi Sahten


The exciting route through Wadi Sahten begins near Rustaq and winds through a narrow corridor that is often flowing with water. A paved road opens out into a huge basin at the foot of the Hajar Mountains. From here, the radar station at the top of Jebel Shams, Oman's highest mountain, is clearly visible. The Sahten basin is a beautiful spot from which to enjoy the 360-degree mountain vista.

Rough tracks lead from the basin up the cliffs to a number of tiny settlements that appear to defy gravity. To visit these traditional settlements or to continue on to Wadi Bani Awf via an off-road track and a rock arch, a 4WD vehicle (and a map) is essential. The 70km circular drive from Rustaq takes at least two hours.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oman attractions

1. Rock Arch

6.13 MILES

Referred to locally as a rock arch, this striking natural feature is in fact a fissure in the cliff. There is just enough space at the bottom of the crack…

2. Ain Al Kasfah


These hot springs attract visitors who believe the water issuing from under the ground at Al Kasfah has therapeutic properties. As a result, the…

3. Snake Gorge

8.12 MILES

Slithering through the heart of the Hajar Mountains, this narrow slot canyon doesn't give up its secrets easily: in fact, it is hard to get a sense of its…

4. Thorn Tree Copse

8.44 MILES

Where the paved road through Wadi Bani Awf ends, a magnificent stand of trees comes into view. These are Ziziphus spina christi, or 'Christ thorn trees' –…

5. Rustaq Fort

8.52 MILES

Two cannons mark the interior courtyard of this enormous fort – the entrance alone signals its former importance. Built on top of pre-Islamic foundations,…

6. Qasra Museum

8.88 MILES

Tucked into the unlit and crumbling old quarter of Rustaq, behind the fort, this unique museum is the personal project of the owner, Zakia Al Lamki. Left…

7. Bilad Sayt

9.39 MILES

Tucked into a limestone pleat in the mountains, Bilad Sayt is a beautiful traditional Hajar Mountain village. Trimmed with neat allotments of corn and…

8. Rustaq Gateway

9.65 MILES

Befitting a town of its size, Rustaq has a fine gateway similar to those in Nizwa, Bahla and Sumail. Wedged between a cut in the mountains, this landmark…